Question for you today: Is regular daily physical movement a big part of your life?
Note that kids don’t even think about it, activity is their oxygen:
What happens to us when we get older though? Many of us put our family and life’s obligations before taking care of ourselves, and we suffer as individuals, less able to take care of ourselves, in all aspects, including our family, friends, professional obligations and community.
My goal in writing this plea for mind mending movement is for you to think of daily exercise (again, as you did as a child) as one of your “must dos”, not at all with the goal of being able to again fit into those favorite pair of skinny jeans (although that might be some nice icing on your cake- 😊!) but actually giving your mind a well-being boost!
First, realize you’re not alone! Let’s get a little insight on the mental health of our nation…..
The rate of depression have hit a new high, according to the latest poll:
“U.S. adults that have been diagnosed with depression at some time in their lifetime has reached 29%, nearly 10 percentage points higher than in 2015. The percentage of Americans who currently have or are being treated for depression has also increased to 17.8%, up about seven points over the same period.”
So now, my job is to make that connection for you, mending your mind with motion!
The latest science comes from the British Journal of Sports’ Medicine (BJSM) published in March this year, reveals that physical exercise is equally effective compared to prescription drugs and psychotherapy in lowering mild to moderate symptoms of depression, anxiety and other psychological distress by 40-60%.
This was a meta-analysis of 97 reviews, including 128K participants, mean ages 29-86, both men and women, measuring the effects on mental health of the “prescription” of physical exercise on a potpourri of people; from those that were healthy to those suffering from mental and chronic disorders.
The following definition of PA (Physical Activity) was used: ‘any bodily movement produced by the contraction of skeletal muscles that results in a substantial increase in caloric requirements over resting energy expenditure’.26
This pivotal study drilled down on their conclusion that there is a connection to alleviating mild-to-moderate mental distress with any type of bodily movement (but especially moderate to high intensities), having the same outcomes as traditional pharmacological and therapy modalities. So here are the crucial clinical implications we all can embrace from this study:
Physical Activity (PA) is effective for managing symptoms of depression and anxiety across numerous populations, including the general population, people with mental illnesses and various other clinical populations. While the benefit of exercise for depression and anxiety is generally recognized, it is often overlooked in the management of these conditions. Furthermore, many people with depression and anxiety have comorbidities, and PA is beneficial for their mental health and disease management. This underscores the need for PA to be a mainstay approach for managing depression and anxiety. All modes of PA are effective, with moderate-to-high intensities more effective than low intensity.
Please understand, I’m talking about mild to moderate psychological distress here. Motion (exercise) is just another pivotal tool in your wellness chest that can make a significantly positive difference in your quality of life, physically AND mentally, but for now the mental boost is what we’re after here….
So you might be asking how much time do I need to commit per week to movement/motion?
At a minimum The Department of Health & Human services recommends a weekly amount of 150 minutes of moderate exercise (that breaks down to a little more than 20 minutes per day) or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise (that’s a little more than 10 minutes per day) of heart pumping aerobic activity plus two sessions per week of strength training, hitting all the major muscle groups.
Okay, so how do we do that with our very busy life schedules?
OR maybe, you’ve just given up on daily physical activity because you just can’t measure up to all those physical activity enthusiasts you see on social media or television….
OR, daily planned structured physical activity (on or with equipment for example) is just not your bag, it’s a waste of time (hey, I’m married to one of those, but my sweetie DOES get his physical activity in, in a different way sometimes, which is fine, I’ll tell you those details, so read on…)
So our goal here is to make physical activity an everyday “thing” that’s not a chore (and you might just look forward to it 😉) that can allow you the most mind benefits..
Here’s the plan…
A. Make motion a Priority– whatever your stage of life is, be it a young adult just finding your way in this world, a new Mom/Dad balancing many schedules, nascent business owners (Randy and I in our new digs at Body of Health, starting a DPC practice in Columbia, MO):
Or a retired great-grandma/grandpa enjoying the fruits of your prior labor, daily moderate to vigorous movement is the required pep for your mind’s step!
So how do we make movement a priority?
- Prioritize a plan! Make a mental note (or a physical one) the night before of how you’d like to “move” the next day.
Even this past Memorial Day, I mentally had a game plan for the day that was actually very relaxing but it included movement:
My Memorial Day Game Plan:
-Take a walk with the dogs in a new park we haven’t explored.
-Hang out with my husband and our dogs outside.
-Make an amazing salad while my husband grills.
-Watch a good movie.
You know what was a beaming highlight of this day? Randy and I both put in a little effort on a hot day trying out a new park to walk in (which was fun in itself), but it also put us in a “chill and uplifted” mood the rest of the day!
B.Merriment and motion are a must– Let’s take another que from children (who just happen to be my precious grandgirls…. 😊). The grandgirls, my daughter and I went strawberry picking on a recent outing and there was an extra bonus for the kids, a corn pit:
ALL of the kids went crazy having fun, even though (for an adult anyway) it would have been tough to move around. We couldn’t move them away from it, they were having such a blast!
We grown-ups can take a lesson from our little ones, our daily movement can also be fun, but how?
- Pick a daily movement you enjoy at the time you enjoy it!!
I personally like to walk or get on the Peloton bike with a small resistance workout early in the morning (mornings are my thing)! Then I’m ready for the day!
My husband grooves on moving by doing physical work outside or maybe a late night jog with both dogs:
My daughter Shannon gets babysitting for her little ones and goes to an exercise class at the “Y” (with the bonus of talking to other Moms doing the same thing)!
And/or add a little music to that movement for that extra pep to your step like my girls are doing here:
and as we did as a family to the “Hokey Pokey” (See I’ve Got the Music In Me! for the science of the brain workout with music!):
Whatever motion you prefer, be it in the garden, the gym, your neighborhood or in or outside your house, just make moderate to vigorous daily movement your perpetual “to do” for mind mood boosting!
C.Maximize your motion methods– As I mentioned before, a good mix of aerobic movement everyday with at least 2-3 days of resistance training thrown in for core strength goes a long way to mending your mood.
- To get the most out of your workouts (or movement), the right form is always a must along with increasing those intensities for an extra boost. If walking is your thing, engage your core as your walk, keeping your head up and shoulders back while lightly swinging your arms, stepping from heel to toe. Good posture is a preventative for injuries and muscle fatigue. And don’t forget to increase those movement intensities occasionally for an extra body and mind boost!
Hey, we’re in it for the long haul here, we want to be moving the rest of our lives with the least amount of pain, while getting the most out of our movement sessions!
- Don’t forget resistance/weight training!– Weight lifting/resistance training is NOT just for those power-lifters you see in magazines. It’s for everyone! The quality of your personal core strength effects your posture and the ability to prevent future injuries.
This is a class for core strength I recently took with my daughter:
These resistance/weight training sessions also perform an amazing feat of mood lifting to get you ready for the day!
Need some ideas on how to start weight lifting/resistance training and core training? See You’ve Got the POWER…., With Weight Lifting! Part 2. and Core Strategies For Practical Wellness.
So whatever you do……. Just keep on moving for your mind!!!
Recap of: Mending Your Mind With Motion
A. Make motion a Priority
B.Merriment and motion are a must
C.Maximize your motion methods
So you all know you have to feed your body the nutrients it needs to feed your body AND brain to be at your peak mental performance. You also have to have the time to put together meals after a busy day that fits those requirements. This meal can almost be created magically, it’s so simple, yet so filling and delicious!! Please try it on one of those crazy nights you have little time for prep, it’s a winner for Randy and me!! Enjoy!!
Tomato Basil Salmon with a
Side of Roasted Edamame
Tomato Basil Salmon
2- 6 oz. boneless salmon fillets
2 T fresh basil (or 1 T dried basil)
1 beefsteak tomato cut into 4 thin slices
1 T olive oil
2 T parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Use non-stick aluminum foil on a baking pan or spray non-stick olive oil on a glass casserole dish (that is what I use) and place the salmon.
- Place fresh (or dried basil) on top of salmon, then top with two tomato slices per fillet (side-by-side), drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle one tablespoon per fillet of parmesan.
- Bake for about 20 minutes until salmon is opaque and parmesan is lightly browned.
*Adapted from Allrecipes.com
Nutrition for Tomato Basil Salmon- Each serving is 357 calories, 19.8 g. fat, 7.6 g. carb. and 34.6 g. protein
12 oz. package frozen edamame in their pods
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
1 T Everything Sprinkle (optional, but it adds a little fun to the dish)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Toss edamame, garlic, sea salt and black pepper in a bowl until well combined. Spread edamame in a single layer.
- Roast in the preheated oven until it starts to brown (about 20 minutes).
- Sprinkle Everything Sprinkle when it comes out of the oven.
- Serve entire pod and pop beans into your mouth (just think getting peanuts out of their shell and you’ll get in the groove)!
*Adapted from Allrecipes.com
Nutrition for Roasted Edamame – Each serving is 235 calories, 17 g. fat, 12 g. carb. and 10.4 g. protein